What Can a Chapter Review Tell Me?

A chapter review is a critical analysis of your book’s introduction. It answers questions like these:

  • Does your first line/paragraph/page hook the reader?
  • Have you started “late” enough in your story, so there’s immediate tension or conflict?
  • Are your setting(s) and character(s) compelling?
  • Does your work feel true to a genre without being awkwardly derivative?

This is a review, not editing or proofreading. In 2–3 pages, I describe what’s working and what needs further consideration or revision.

For a more comprehensive review, consider a manuscript analysis. For line-by-line guidance, go with copy editing, which you need if you’re self-publishing, anyway.


Do I need a chapter review or a manuscript analysis?

In March 2016, The New York Times reported on data gathered by Jellybooks, a book discovery and reading analytics company. Jellybooks’s statistics reveal just how merciless we are as readers. We drop books within the first few chapters, and the less marketing buzz a book has, the less likely most of us are to finish it. The old adage is true: first impressions are everything.

If your first chapter needs work, you need to know and make revisions. A chapter review won’t guarantee dedicated readers, but the hope is that it will keep you from making initial faux pas that might turn them off. More concerned about the big picture?


How much does a chapter review cost?

Though I call this a first chapter review, I charge a flat rate of $75.00 for up to 7,500 words (i.e., 1 cent per word). You can send me fewer words, if you only want to send a shorter first chapter, or you can send me 7,500 words. If you’d like additional early chapters reviewed, talk to me about it via email or have your manuscript analyzed.


How do I pay for a chapter review?

As chapter reviews are smaller jobs, I ask that you pay the $75.00 upfront. I accept payments through PayPal.


How long will it take you to review my chapter?

Most chapter reviews only take a couple of days for me to complete, but I will usually tell you a week is needed for the job. This ensures we have time to sign a contract and settle payment.


Will you review a later chapter in my story?

Sorry, I only review first chapter(s) / the first 7,500 words in a book. Here’s why: I can’t give good advice on the state of your characters and themes in chapter 18 without knowing what’s occurred in the previous seventeen chapters. A well-written book has plot and character arcs. I can only evaluate the beginning of those arcs or the whole arc.